In collaboration with Professor Konrad Hirschler (Freie Universität, Berlin; The Written Word in the Medieval Arabic Lands: A Social and Cultural History of Reading Practices (2012)) the “Cities of Readers” project organised a series of three sessions at the SMM Conference: “Emotions, Imaginations, and Communities in the Medieval Mediterranean”, organised by Ghent University, 10-12 july 2017.
I. Books and Reading in the Mediterranean, Communities, Identities, and Connected Histories: Circulation of Knowledge
– Mario Antonio Cossío Olavide (University of Minnesota): Crossing the Reading Sea. The Libro de Los Ejemplos as a Case of Mediterranean Reading
– Christopher D. Bahl (SOAS, University of London): The Circulation of Arabic Grammar Books Across the Eastern Mediterranean.
II. Books and Reading in the Mediterranean, Communities, Identities, and Connected Histories: Books, Materiality, and Religion
– Konrad Hirschler (Free University Berlin): The Materiality of Inter-Religious Manuscript Reuse.
– Margriet Hoogvliet (University of Groningen): The French “Midi” as a Hub in the International and Interreligious Trade of Christian Religious Books in the Vernaculars (15th-16th centuries).
– Yehoshua Frenkel (University of Haifa): Books: Forms and Functions.
III. Books and Reading in the Mediterranean, Communities, Identities, and Connected Histories: Book Collections
– Mustafa Altuğ Yayla (University of Hamburg): Tracing Book Collecting Interests of a Naqshbandi/Ahrari Disciple in Early Modern Ottoman Anatolia: The Lamii Çelebi of Bursa (d. 1532) Case.
– Sabrina Corbellini (University of Groningen): The Ethics of Reading: Libraries, Books and Dissemination of Knowledge.
The papers presented a great variety of languages, regions, cultures and texts, yet the approach through “spatial aspects of books and reading cultures” proved to be very fruitful. The “global Middle Ages” was not only characterised by frequent links of connectivity through all the Mediterranean basin, and even beyond to the Indian Ocean, more importantly, the participants discovered that we can learn from each other’s analytical approaches to collecting and disseminating texts, social networks linked to textual circulation, vernacularisation, manuscript cultures, multilinguality, collective reading practices, sacred texts, and “lieux de savoir”: places of the production, storage, multiplication, consultation and disseminating of texts and knowledge.